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SEL Information and Resources

Overview of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Standards

SEL Wordle

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire the knowledge, attitudes, and skills they need to: recognize and manage their emotions; demonstrate caring and concern for others; establish positive relationships; set and achieve goals; make responsible decisions; and handle challenging situations constructively. Students who gain competence in these SEL areas thrive in all aspects of their lives from the academic and extracurricular domains to the family, personal, and community settings.  

There is extensive research validating the positive impact that SEL skills have on students’ academic and personal well-being (see the quick link on this page to the research site on the CASEL: Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning website).  Due to this and the Children's Mental Health Act of 2003, Illinois legislators enacted Section 15(a) of Public Act 93-0495, which expanded the Illinois Learning Standards to include SEL standards.

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) established the following standards for all K-12 students:

Goal 1 - Develop self-awareness and self-management skills to achieve school and life success.

Goal 2 - Use social-awareness and interpersonal skills to establish and maintain positive relationships.

Goal 3 - Demonstrate decision-making skills and responsible behaviors in personal, school, & community contexts.

The SEL standards describe the specific content and skills students should master at each grade level. SEL benchmarks pertinent to District 86 include early high school (grades 9-10) and late high school (grades 11-12). Detailed descriptors and benchmarks that span a student’s education can be found on ISBE's standards website (see the quick link on this page). 

One SEL section of ISBE’s website notes that “when students learn to process, integrate, and selectively apply SEL skills,” the following positive outcomes will result:

  • Promotion of mental wellness
  • Prevention of mental health issues
  • School connectedness
  • Reduction in student absenteeism
  • Reduction in suspensions
  • Adoption, implementation and institutionalization of new practices
  • Improved academic outcomes.